Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It might as well be spring

It's the First Full Day of Spring. And in it's honor, let us seriously consider spring cleaning and the unhappy ending of the Collyer brothers.

Homer and Langley Collyer were well-to-do New Yorkers who grew up in a fashionable brownstone in Harlem with their mother and father, just before the turn of the previous century. Unfortunately the brothers, both college graduates, over the years became eccentric hermits and literally walled themselves into their filthy brownstone, cramming it with junk Langley had found on the street (Homer had gone blind and crippled with severe rheumatism.)

On March 21, 1947, police received a tip that there was a dead body in their house. After several hours of trying to crawl their way through the ceiling high booby trapped corridors of newspapers and junk, the police found Homer, who had died apparently only a few hours previously. The problem was - where was Langley?

18 days later and almost 100 tons of trash removed later, the decomposing and rat gnawed corpse of Langley was discovered, crushed in one of his own booby trap warrens. Medical examiners concluded that Langley had died a week earlier than his brother and Homer, blind and crippled, died several days later of malnutrition, dehydration, and cardiac arrest. Not a happy way to go.

So kids, clean your room and get outside and play with your friends.

March 21, 1964 -
The Beatles' single She Loves You, went #1 and stayed #1 for 2 weeks on this date.

This was an instant hit in the England, but not in America where it was released on Swan records, the only US label that would take it. Swan put it out in September 1963, but while The Beatles were huge in England, they were still no big deal in America until February 1964.

March 21, 1962 -
Roseann O'Donnell, stand-up comedian, actress, and talk show host was born on this date.

Poor Rosie didn't get a very good birthday present from Oprah; her new show on the OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network was recently cancelled.

Today in History:
March 21, 1556 -
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer (who led the effort to help Henry VIII marry Anne Boleyn,) scheduled to denounce his errors and be burned at the stake (after Queen Mary, Henry's daughter, attained the throne), denounced his own confessions and was hustled off to be burned.

He then put forth his hand and declared: “For as much as my hand offended, writing contrary to my heart, my hand shall first be punished.

Oh that wacky English Reformation .

March 21, 1843 -
According to confused Biblical scholar William Miller, Christ would return sometime in the year following this day in 1843. After Jesus failed to appear by the next March, Miller claimed it was the result of an arithmetic error and recalculated the deadline to be October 22, 1844.

The Lord had other plans on that date as well.

March 21, 1962 -
A two-year old female black bear, named Yogi, was taken aboard a B-58 bomber out of Edwards Air Force Base in California, flown up to 35,000 feet at a supersonic speed of 850 miles per hour, and ejected from the bomber in a specially made capsule. She landed safely, and became the first living creature to survive a parachute jump from a plane flying faster than sound.

Imagine what PETA would have made of this test at the time.

March 21, 1963 -
Alcatraz Prison was closed at the order of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy on this date.

Hardened criminals would have to go elsewhere to experience the joys of prison sex by the sea.

March 21, 1970 -
On this date, Vinko Bogataj crashes during a ski-jumping championship in Germany;

his image becomes that of the "agony of defeat guy" in the opening credits of ABC's Wide World of Sports.

March 21, 1976 -
David Bowie and Iggy Pop were arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession in New York. They were released on $2,000 bail. The charges were later dropped.

Musicians using drugs - shocking, shocking, I tell you.

March 21, 1980 -
Mobster Angelo The Docile Don Bruno was killed with a shotgun blast to the head while he waits in his car after dinner. The order was probably ordered Anthony Tony Bananas Caponigro, Bruno's consigliere, so much for family loyalty. His replacement, one of Bruno's former capo Phil Chicken Man Testa, is short lived, as he is killed a year later by a nail bomb at his home.

One must assume that their parents knew something about their future careers when giving them middle names.

March 21, 1980
On the season finale of Dallas, the infamous character J.R. Ewing was shot by an unknown individual - Who Shot JR?

Viewers had to wait all summer, and most of the autumn because of a Hollywood actors' strike (and Hagman's own holdout), to learn whether J.R. would survive, and which of his many enemies was responsible.

Today's episode of Oh, that Wacky Russian Revolution:

The Russian Royal family was having a really bad day. On March 21, 1917, Nicholas II and his family were arrested. It was a confused and confusing period, and the situation would only continue to deteriorate until the October Revolution (in November).

The eventual triumph of the proletariat, as everyone knows, finally put an end to all the suffering and oppression in Russia.

Since yesterday was Fred Rogers birthday, I believe an important comparison should be shown to help you better understand the Russian Imperial dynasty:

Hereditary heads of the Russian empire, 1613-1917: 19
Hosts of the long-running PBS series Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood: 1
Russian heads of state to have died by natural causes: 10
Deaths on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood: 0
Average length of Russian reign, in years: 15.6
Years Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood ran: 31
Russian emperors to die of dropsy: 1
Dropsy deaths in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe: 0
Russian emperors assassinated: 5
Assassination attempts on the life of King Friday XIII: 0
Bolshevik Revolutions in the Neighborhood of Make Believe: 0

Please be prepared for a quiz tomorrow.

And so it goes.

Before I let you go - Here's the POTUS singing (along with Mitt,) Will The Real Mitt Romney, Please Stand Up:

But whoever that guy is, he seems be on his way to the Republican nominee

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